Notes for Leaders
Dignity and Purpose
At the basis of all we have said in previous articles is the fundamental belief in the dignity of each person. Y.C.W. action and involvement depends on our belief in the purposefulness of life and the dignity of each man and our consequent responsibility to show each man the respect due to a being with a unique and irreplaceable role in human history.
Why do we hold this belief?
It all goes back to our belief in God. We, as people who believe in God, know that ultimately he is behind the existence of our world, and when we look at our world we see that it is not the result of some blind force like a hurricane. Things in our world bear the imprint of a planning intellect.
Take the human ear for example. The noises that come to me as I write this are the noises of a fan heater, the sound of cars on a wet road and in the distance someone is coughing. Each of these sounds are entering the flap of tissue on the side of my head that I call an ear.
These sound bearing airwaves strike my ear drum – a tightly stretched membrane less than 1cm across like a stick beating a drum. The movement of this membrane (it may be only one thousand millionth of a centimetre) is amplified by tiny bones called the hammer, anvil and stirrup and passed on to my inner ear via an oval window attached to the stirrup.
The major hearing component of my inner ear is the snail shaped cochlea whose twisting interior is studded with thousands of microscopic hair like nerve cells – each one tuned to a particular vibration. The sound vibrations I can hear at the moment are making certain of these hair cells vibrate – waving in the lymph fluid of my inner ear like seaweed in a tidal current.
The waving produces a wisp of electricity that feeds into my auditory nerve. My auditory nerve is only about as thick as a pencil lead, but it contains more than 30 000 circuits – enough to provide a phone service for a good sized city. It is the brain’s job to unscramble this data and convert it into meaningful sound.
My hearing apparatus is thus a scientific marvel more complex than an I.B.M., computer and speaks loudly of the existence of an intelligent creator.
Why an intelligent creator? Because in, the ear matter is arranged beautifully for the purpose of hearing.
The ear is a well nigh perfect instrument for hearing.
That is its purpose. Similarly the eye has a purpose – it was made as an organ of sight. If a man tries to hammer a nail in with his eye he will hurt his eye and not get the nail in. The eye was not made for that purpose. If a man stuffs cake down his ear hole he will hurt his ear and get no good from the cake. The ear was not made for that purpose.
The question then arises – If an intelligent creator made the ear for hearing and the eye for seeing and each part of the body for a different purpose – then why did he make the whole being that is me? In the body of mankind in; the whole of human history I stand alone a unique being. No one stands in my place but me. Would the God creator behind the wonderful creation of each part of my body have made me without purpose?
No, that I can’t believe. As the ear has a unique role in my body, I also have a unique and irreplaceable role in the body of mankind – in human history.
But, I am different from the Grand Canyon or a Gum Tree – they exist but have no say in their existence. I am a man. I have some say in who I am; what I will become; where I will go and what I will do. I have intelligence and a free will. I therefore must use my intelligence and free will. I must try to discover daily the truth – Why do I stand here? What is my purpose today? I must use my will to choose wisely – what will I love? Where will I go? What will I do?
Each man stands uniquely and irreplaceably in his spot in human history. Each man demands of me a respect deeper and wider than all the money in the world. And I myself am a man like that. This is a fundamental basis of my religion – of how my life is related to God my creator.